Iran was the first stop on the study tour of the 2017 Course for Senior Officials. For two days, talks focused on the European view of the Islamic Republic and on Iran’s own perspective.
During the first day of talks, the main focus was on Iran from an outside perspective. The German Ambassador Mr Michael Klor-Berchthold and his staff explained that a crucial aspect for diplomats to consider was Iran’s multi-layered system of government with its various – sometimes competing – centres of power, where decision processes are not always transparent. In a second round of discussions, journalists reporting from Iran for German media talked about their working conditions and the situation of the press in the country. They stressed that although it was not easy to arrange meetings with government officials, there was an active social media scene that allowed journalists to discuss the situation in Iran openly and comprehensively.
In a third round, representatives of German industrial companies talked about expectations within the business community after the lifting of sanctions under the Iran nuclear deal. Their generally positive outlook was considerably tempered by the confusion that the new US administration has brought to the situation. They were waiting to see how President Trump’s position on Iran would develop in the coming months.
Meeting with Dr Seyed Kazem Sajjadpour,
former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
On the second day, the focus was on the Iranian perspective. The government-affiliated Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) invited course participants to debate wide-ranging economic, political and strategic issues with members of Iranian think tanks and representatives of Iranian ministries. Dr Seyed Kazem Sajjadpour, President of IPIS and former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, took part in the dialogue.
These open discussions centred on the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia and on the stability of the region as a whole. While misperceptions of Iran by the West were a key concern on the Iranian side, German participants pointed to the issue of Iran exporting its revolution, as well as its stance towards Israel. Both sides agreed that this open discussion format was mutually beneficial and should be continued.
Written by: Editorial Staff